Archive | January, 2015

The Artistry of Bacalar

25 Jan

San Miguel de Allende in northern Mexico is an artists’ haven. We stopped last year on our drive back to Bacalar from visiting family in Texas. There are artisan markets, galleries, beautifully landscaped architecture and well, sigh…I returned to our little town of Bacalar feeling depressed and longing for a more stimulating creative environment.

The street in San Miguel.

The street in San Miguel.

In the year since, I have discovered the amazing arts community that is Bacalar. It began when I opened my eyes.

Colibri

Colibri

This beautiful hummingbird and the blue deer that follows grace the wall of a house that is under construction. The colors are vibrant and my bicycle excursion up a new street uncovered them, much to my delight.

Venado Azul

Venado Azul

Down the street from our house, the newly named Frida Kahlo school for differently-abled children received a new mural outside its gate over the recent holiday vacation.

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My favorite mural is on a main street leading off the town square.

The sky begins on Laguna Bacalar.

The sky begins on Laguna Bacalar.

Even a little house that looks like it’s about to fall down provides the canvas for an artist’s expression.

The work covers part of the front door in its beautiful expression.

The work covers part of the front door in its beautiful display.

There are amateur murals, perhaps from a community project of years ago.

Note the crocodile in the foreground.

Note the crocodile in the foreground.

A recent state-wide celebration included the commission of this mural on the wall of the Bacalar Tourist Center.

Flying fish than can be seen when I'm out in my kayak.

Flying fish that can be seen while kayaking on the laguna.

Next week starts the annual Art Rendezvous at Casita Carolina. Local and visiting artists gather for five days and capture the sights – mercado, pyramids, palm trees and colorful residents. On Saturday next there is a community party and art sale. Everyone is invited to participate. I’ve decided to paint even though I haven’t picked up a brush since high school.

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With exceedingly low expectations of my artistic abilities I will join in and chronicle the fun. Clearly our community is far more artistic and creative than I previously saw. With such a beautiful environment, how could it not be.

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Follow up to last week’s blog  Los Perros of Bacalar –

I did not expect that blog followers would be willing to open their hearts and resources to the dogs and cats of Bacalar, silly me. This weekend there was a sterilization clinic with additional pictures on the Dos Tortas Facebook page. It is a public page that you can access without a FB account. If you wish to contribute please contact me for further information. A large bag of dog food costs $25US and the average cost to sterilize an animal is about $20. We have the offer of a permanent location and would like to have monthly clinics. There are start up equipment costs, but money goes far in Mexico.

Our visiting veterinarian and expat nurse extraordinaire Patty.

Our visiting veterinarian and expat nurse extraordinaire Patty.

DOS TORTAS

Los Perros of Bacalar

18 Jan

The dogs of Bacalar have been on my list of blog topics for awhile. They lounge in the streets barely aware of speeding taxis and zipping motos. When walking or riding our bikes, it is useful to carry a stick or pocket of stones. Bacalareños and expats alike either own dogs, are afraid of them or both, for good reason.

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In the defense of the perros is our friend Rojo. He takes collections of dog food, arranges sterilization clinics and maintains the bellies of a small herd of street dogs. With the support of many gringos he has taken the fight to the município and raised awareness. His facebook page, Perros Olvidados de Bacalar, the forgotten dogs of Bacalar, was created to provide a central message board.

Rojo the dog rescuer.

Rojo the dog whisperer.

While riding this week I was bum rushed by two dogs that hang out blocks from our house. I got scared, hit the brakes and went down. I got up bruised but determined to do something about this particular duo as I have seen them in action before.

They certainly think they live here and someone is feeding them.

They certainly think they live here and someone is feeding them.

I canvassed the neighborhood but was told that the dogs have no owner. No one wants to take responsibility for this pair, for good reason. A friend paid $11,000 pesos this week, about $750us when a passing man called the police threatening to sue, claiming our friend’s weimaraner Lucy had bitten him (names have been changed to protect the presumed innocent). As anywhere, the case for settling “out of court” was made and a deal was struck.

The take away came from the old man who came by on his tricycle while I was knocking on doors. I see him frequently in the hood and noticed that the corner dogs mostly ignore him. My curiosity was peaked and I struck up a conversation. I told him that the dogs had attacked me and I was looking for their owner. He casually glanced at my leg looking for evidence of the crime. Finding none, he proceeded to gesture about the mythical dogs who live “over there” and attack and kill people. Seemingly there are always people, “over there” who have it worse, like the starving children in Africa, invoked by my parents to pressure me to eat my peas and carrots.

The lesson and our new mantra is, if you’re not dead, you have nothing to complain about. Try it this week; it sort of has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

DOS TORTAS

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A Literary Suggestion for the Mexico Bound

11 Jan

Bacalareños had a quiet Saturday night. The long holiday vacation is over with adults back to work and the children in school. The cool weather and rain had the perros curled up and quiet until the rooster alarm clock went off this morning. We cherish these mornings.

Rainy Sunday morning.

Rainy Sunday morning.

I’ve been hearing from readers about adventurous plans to travel or retire to Mexico. I thought you might enjoy a reading suggestion to pass the time until your trip.

On my night table is The Lacuna by Barbara Kinsolver.

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The main character tells of life growing up with his Mexican mother and his relationship with Frieda Kalo and Diego Rivera.

Artists of Mexico.

Artists of Mexico.

As a young adult he returns to seek out his US father and ends up living in Asheville, NC. of all places. My brother lives in Asheville and I’ve visited many times, however familiarity with the city is not a requirement to enjoy the book.

I found The Lacuna slow to engage but persisted after I saw it included among the coffee table collection at La Casa de los Venados in Valladolid. If the owners of this amazing art collection thought enough to place it front and center in a room where there are no accidents, I decided to give it a second go.

All things Mexico.

All things Mexico.

The largest private collection of Mexican folk art.

The largest private collection of Mexican folk art in the world.

Our reclusive protagonist develops into a writer of Mexican ancient history and weaver of stories that capture the hearts of post WW I, communist fearing Americans. I cannot tell you the ending, as I am within pages of finishing myself. It feels much like the story of Dos Tortas, off to a slow start, but now within days of receiving our permission to build our retirement home. How perfect a life reflection. DOS TORTAS
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OK I Quit!

4 Jan

All this week I’ve been waiting for that still small voice that tells me what this week’s blog will be. My muse is clearly on vacation. When I started blogging in 2013, I told myself that if it’s no longer fun, I will quit. This week it wasn’t fun. I tossed in my sleep, came up with multiple ideas and threw them out, and yes stressed about it! Then I decided to repost an older blog, and even that process was more than I could deal with, even though I’ve done it before. No, I’m not shutting down the blog, just taking a break. Happy New Year.

Time for a trim.

Time for a haircut.

Meet Mary. She did a great job.

Meet Mary. She did a great job.

Silly selfie. $6.00 haircut.

Silly selfie. $6.00 haircut.

I hope your transition into 2015 was what you hoped for. I have two announcements. Our friend Kathe is selling a lovely home not far from here:
http://www.viviun.com/AD-217759/
Another friend Carolyn is selling a wonderful business:
Www.undertoemexico.com

If you ever thought of a life away, here are two opportunities. A few more pictures for your pleasure. You can also find us on Instagram at dos_tortas.

Blue morning.

Blue morning.

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I commit to no stress for 2015. No telling where the new year will take us. The adventure continues…

DOS TORTAS

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